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Destination News - Hotel, Resort & Spa Europe.

New York, Geneva (AirGuide - Destination News - Hotel, Resort & Spa Europe) May 20, 2012

American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia team up for savings on Business Class to London. As the British prepare to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee with an outpouring of affection and patriotism, American Airlines and fellow oneworld[umlaut] members, British Airways and Iberia, have teamed up to celebrate by offering customers royal savings with a special discounted fare on Business Class tickets on nonstop flights* from 20 cities in the United States to London and Manchester in the U.K. This special $1,952 round-trip fare honors the year that 25-year old Princess Elizabeth ascended to the throne 60 years ago. Sale fares must be purchased by May 18 and are valid for outbound travel from May 26 through June 9, 2012. All travel at this fare must be completed by April 11, 2013. Other restrictions apply. In 2010, American, British Airways and Iberia implemented a joint business allowing the three airlines to cooperate commercially on nonstop flights across the Atlantic. This strengthened relationship between the airlines further establishes American's commitment to Europe and provides customers with approximately 70 daily departures between North America and London. Travelers can check schedules and fares and book on www.AA.com. AA.com has the absolute lowest fares [ETH] guaranteed [ETH] available for American Airlines, American Eagle[umlaut] and AmericanConnection[umlaut] carrier flights. Taxes, Fees and Conditions Prices shown include all taxes and fees. Other conditions apply. Fares are subject to change without notice. International fares are subject to government approval. Ticketing/Travel [ETH] Tickets must be purchased seven days prior to departure but not later than 11:59 p.m. May 18, 2012 (Central Time). Fares are valid for travel May 26 through June 9, 2012. A Saturday night stay is required, and all travel must be completed by April 11, 2013. Tickets must be issued 24 hours after reservations are made. Seats are limited. Fares may not be available on all flights. Schedules are subject to change without notice. Fares are nonrefundable and nontransferable. Changes to your ticket may be made if you meet the restrictions of the new fare and pay up to a $500 fee for premium class, plus any fare difference. Changes must be made before your ticketed flight's scheduled departure time. If you cancel your flight prior to the scheduled departure time, the ticket will be valid for one year from the date of issue for an unused ticket or one year from travel origination for a partially used ticket. If you do not cancel your flight prior to the scheduled departure time, the ticket has no value. May 16, 2012

BauersO Il Palladio Hotel BauersO Il Palladio Hotel in Venice Offers AmericaOs Cup Package . BauersO Il Palladio Hotel & Spa in Venice is offering a three-night package, May 17 to 20, for yachting fans attending the AmericaOs Cup World Series that includes Superior, Deluxe or Junior Suite accommodations; buffet breakfast each morning; lunch at IOUlivo Restaurant, which will including three courses with drinks; admission to the Navy Museum of Venice; privileged access to the Bauer Terrace with spectacular views of the races; access to the Palladio fitness center with Technogym machines; free shuttle to Bauer Hotel San Marco (two minutes from San Marco square); roundtrip transfers between the airport and hotel; and service fees. May 15, 2012

Cheapflights.co.uk Dazzling Destinations for The Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Over the long weekend from Saturday 2 through Tuesday 5 June 2012, The Queen celebrates 60 years as Monarch and her 60th year as the Head of the Commonwealth. Whether you're staying in London to enjoy the heart of the Jubilee celebrations or fancy taking advantage of the long weekend to book a holiday, Cheapflights.co.uk, the UK's online leader in travel deals publishing, points travellers in the direction of the best celebrations around the world. "It's one of this summer's most anticipated events, but, with thousands expected to stampede into London for the celebrations, an escape to enjoy them from afar in one of the other Commonwealth destinations might be just the royal ticket," says Nadine Hallak, Travel Expert for Cheapflights.co.uk. Reach for your bunting, wave your flag and get in the Jubilee spirit with these top Jubilee destinations. London is the place to be for the Diamond Jubilee. Celebrations kick off on Sunday 3 June when neighbours and friends join together for a traditional street party. Those next to the River Thames can feast their eyes on up to 1,000 boats taking part in The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant and try to spot The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh on the Royal Barge. For music fans, the Diamond Jubilee Concert will be held on Monday 4 June -- those not lucky enough to get a ticket can watch from the comfort of their television. Also on Monday, The Queen will light the National Beacon and, at the same time, communities all over the UK and the Commonwealth will light 2,012 more Beacons. The last of the celebrations take place on Tuesday 5 June with a service at St Paul's Cathedral and a procession that culminates at Buckingham Palace where The Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and other members of the Royal Family take their places on the famous Balcony to watch an RAF Flypast. Australia Although on the other side of the world, Australia is still doing their bit to celebrate this rare occasion. On Monday 4 June, Julia Gillard, the Australian Prime Minister, will unite with the rest of the commonwealth and the UK by lighting a Beacon on top of Parliament House in Canberra. In support of the celebrations and in accordance with historical protocol, Parks Place in the Parliamentary zone will be renamed Queen Elizabeth Terrace, similarly to the names of adjacent streets Queen Victoria, King Edward and King George Terraces. If you're after a collector's item, then purchase a Jubilee stamp issued by Australia Post or a Jubilee coin which will be issued by the Royal Australian Mint. Canada In honor of the 60th anniversary of The Queen's accession to the throne as Queen of Canada, a new commemorative medal named The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal has been created. The medal is a way for Canada to honour The Queen's service to the country as well as serving to honour a significant contribution or achievement by Canadians. During 2012, 60,000 Canadians will be recognised and awarded the medal. Canada will also take part by lighting Beacons as part of a commonwealth celebration of the Diamond Jubilee. Scotland To mark The Queen's Diamond Jubilee, Perth in Scotland has been awarded city status after winning a UK competition. Perth will now be Scotland's seventh city, along with Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Stirling. Twenty six towns across the UK entered the competition in a bid to win the civic honour, while only two other UK towns won the honour of becoming a city: Chelmsford in England and St Asaph in Wales. Perth based its bid on its long history as a city before the status was removed in 1975 during a local government shake up. On Monday 4 June, it has been confirmed that Beacons will be lit on Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, The Queen's official residence in Scotland. New Zealand Monday 4 June will see New Zealanders celebrate The Queen's birthday and the opening of the ski season. Around The Queen's birthday, The Queen's Honours list is released. This is a list of hundreds of recipients who are acknowledged and honoured for public service, whether it's services to television or services to prisoner welfare. This year, The Queen's Diamond Jubilee also falls on the same weekend as her birthday, so expect the celebrations to be even bigger. New Zealand will pay tribute to The Queen by lighting Beacons along with other countries in the Commonwealth. May 14, 2012

Club Med Club Med Reopens Phuket Property Following Renovation . Club MedOs Phuket property, set on Kata Bay in Thailand, reopened follClub Med Reopens Phuket Property Following Renovation owing an extensive renovation. The resort was renovated by French designers Marc Hertrich and Nicolas Adnet and includes a transformation in the main lobby, a new restaurant and bar with ocean views, a specialty restaurant near the new adults-only pool as well as a designed Club Med Spa by PAYOT. May 15, 2012

Club Med Club Med Wengen in the Bernese Oberland receives certification from Green Globe. Green Globe today announced certification of Club Med Wengen in the Bernese Oberland in southwestern Switzerland. This resort is the 27th Club Med Village to receive certification for its sustainability achievements. With 39 percent of its villages certified, Club Med aims to have all villages certified within the next 2 years. Club Med Wengen uses 69 percent renewable energy, and has a management system that optimizes heating, ventilation, and lighting throughout the property. All kitchen taps feature regulators to minimize water consumption, and the hotel encourages guests to use water and energy responsibly. Staff is trained to keep detergent use to a minimum and to sort waste by separating glass, packaging, paper, wood, cooking oil, batteries, light bulbs, and ink cartridges, as well as dangerous waste. Specific signage has been installed in each department. Like all Club Med Resorts, Club Med Wengen respects the local environment, actively contributes to preserving local culture and nature, and ensures that guests get to know their host country. With an activity program reflecting local traditions, Club Med Wengen has organized visits to concerts of traditional music, a culinary tour of Wengen village, and an illustrated lecture about the region and its culture. Julia Thibault, Environmental Officer of Club Med Wengen, said, "With Green Globe Certification, our team members work on a common and meaningful project. The team plays an essential role in conveying our sustainability goals and achievements to our guests who are very impressed with Club Med's commitment. Our activities to promote Swiss culture, such as the culinary tour of Wengen village, were very successful. It is important for us to engage our guests and raise awareness about sustainable tourism." Club Med Wengen has also made a financial contribution to UNESCO to help preserve the nearby Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001. Club Med offers excursions to this unique travel destination between the cantons of Berne and Valais, making guests aware of the need to protect the rich alpine fauna and flora by providing books about the Jungfrau region. Green Globe Certification's CEO, Guido Bauer, said: OWe are pleased to award Club Med Wengen with Green Globe Certification. The resort is situated within beautiful nature, where guests can enjoy alpinski and snowboarding against the backdrop of the Eiger mountain. The regions of the Bernese Oberland and Valais have been popular tourist destinations since the 19th century; and the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch site stands for the natural beauty of the Alps, with its impressive Eiger, Mnch, and Jungfrau rock massif and the Great Aletsch Glacier. The alpine scenery is gradually transformed over different altitudinal vegetation zones, into a rocky steppe. This rich diversity of landscapes and ecosystems creates an overall picture of outstanding beauty and needs to be preserved.O The Jungfrau-Aletsch protected area, comprising the Aletsch Glacier, contains the largest glaciated area in western Eurasia. Around 90 percent of the area is covered with rocks and ice. Its diverse flora and fauna features 1,250 species, 1,800 plants, and 700 mosses. Common species include chamois, alpine ibex, red deer, and smaller mammals including the mountain hare, fox, ermine, marmot, and lynx. May 16, 2012

Expedia Expedia Releases 2012 Flip Flop Report. Study examines beachgoer behavior and preferences across five continents. Expedia.com released the results of the 2012 Flip Flop Report, an analysis of behavior and preferences among beachgoers in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Harris Interactive, on behalf of Expedia.com, conducted the online study among 8,599 adults in 21 countries. Among other findings, Expedia's Flip Flop Report revealed that the beach is by far the favorite destination for the majority of the world's travelers. The average beach holiday is just about one week in length, at 7.7 days. Combined with results from Expedia's Vacation Deprivation[umlaut] study(1), we can see in the US that Americans spend a full 40% of their allotted vacation days at the beach. In fact, when Americans were asked to choose between spending time at the beach and spending time with family, the beach won handily. Full details on the 2012 Flip Flop Report can be found here: www.expedia.com/flipflop. A summary of the Flip Flop Report's findings can also be found on pages 2 and 3 of this press release. Expedia[umlaut] has responded to the findings in the 2012 Flip Flop Report by crafting one of the largest Summer Sales in the company's history. The 2012 Summer Sale began on May 15 and runs through August 31. Participating customers can realize savings that grow in accordance with their planned vacation. Customers that stay 1 to 4 nights can save up to 35% off at more than 12,000 hotels and resorts worldwide. Expedia also recently conducted a survey(2) of American travelers; it found that a full 41% of Americans -- and nearly 1 in 2 men (49%) -- have driven across the United States at one point, while 25% of men and 33% of women have "not done so but always wanted to." As such, Expedia has structured its Summer Sale to help more Americans experience the open road. For every $150 spent on select Summer Sale hotels this summer, consumers will earn a $25 gas card. For every $250 spent on those hotels, the gas card doubles in value to $50. Should a traveler spend $450 at one of the participating Summer Sale hotels, Expedia will give that traveler a $100 gas card. Summer travelers aren't just stopping at saving on flights and hotels. There are more ways than ever to save on car rentals. In fact, some travelers found booking their hotel and car rental together yields a savings so great they offset the cost of the car, making it feel like a "free" car rental. Additional details on Expedia's 2012 Summer Sale, including a first-of-its-kind Expedia Beachgoer App, where travel bloggers have recommended their own favorite summer destinations, are featured on page 3 and 4 of this press release. They can also be found here: www.expedia.com/summersale. "Beach vacations are such an important part of how Americans travel. We've just completed our first annual Flip Flop Report which digs deep into what people like about beach travel. Not surprisingly, what they like when they're planning a trip is saving money, so we're launching the biggest Summer Sale in Expedia's history," said Joe Megibow, vice president and general manager, Expedia.com. "The report also shows that, once people are actually on vacation, they find a wide variety of ways to have their own kind of fun, whether that's sports in the sand, surfing in the waves or whatever kind of sunbathing they prefer." Flip Flop Report Findings Despite the carefree nature of a sun-drenched week at the beach, beachgoers worldwide remain cost-conscious. In the US, the most important factor for 78% of beachgoers is the total trip price. The beach itself matters too -- total vacation price and beach quality are the #1 and #2 criteria for travelers in 14 of the 21 countries surveyed -- but the cost of the visit is the top consideration. The study also found: The Popularity of the Beach is Unsurpassed More than half (52%) of respondents plan to holiday at the beach in the next 12 months, compared to 45% who said they took a beach vacation the year prior. And while the average stay for a beach vacation is 7.7 days, this is less true of Koreans, Japanese and Singaporeans, who seem more likely to prefer beach weekends to extended stays. Additionally: Argentineans are the most sun-soaked, spending an average of 11 days at a time, while Koreans spent a mere 3.2 days per trip. Americans are creatures of habit: one of the least important criteria for Americans when selecting a beach location is the desire to find a new location. For Indians, new locations were among the highest priority. For Most Beachgoers, the Most Popular Activity is No Activity At All Relaxing and sunbathing were among the top two activities for beachgoers across all five continents. The Irish, at 75%, were the most likely to relax, while Mexicans (79%) seem to be happiest with lying in the sun. Brazilians (40%) were likeliest to exercise on the beach; when doing so, they may well stumble over the Japanese, who were 14 times likelier to relax (28%) than exercise (2%). Additionally: Koreans, at 49%, were likeliest to "eat raw food" on the beach. Koreans are unlikely to draw envious stares from Norwegians, who at 1% showed the most aversion to the practice. New Zealanders (36%) and Australians (35%) were most likely to fish at the beach. Canadians were likeliest to strap on a snorkel (34%). 82% of Germans spend beach time swimming. Only 28% of the Japanese do the same. Germans are Likeliest to Sunbathe Nude Germans displayed the most permissive attitudes towards nude sunbathing. A full 15% of German respondents indicated that they sunbathed naked. Indians and Spaniards (8%) were the second-likeliest to shed their clothing, while the French (5% clothing-free) were more aligned with Americans (2%), the British (2%) and the Japanese (1%). Perhaps unsurprisingly, Germans seem to be the most popular beachgoers: when asked if they'd spent beach days with strangers, the Germans (23%) and Brazilians (19%) were likeliest to say they had. Additionally: Indians (22%), Canadians (20%), Mexicans (19%), Italians (18%) and the Irish (18%) were likeliest to have participated in "beach bar games." 31% of Singaporeans had spent beach time at the spa, versus 3% of the Japanese and 5% of the Dutch. Indian (39%), Mexican (34%), Brazilian (30%) and Argentinean (27%) beachgoers were most likely to dance on the beach. Beachgoers Have Never Gotten Over "Jaws" Expedia's Flip Flop Report revealed that beachgoers remain wary of sharks. Well under 100 shark bite incidents are reported worldwide each year,(3) making shark encounters extraordinarily rare. Yet the menace prevails: 50% of travelers consider the presence of sharks when deciding where to holiday, and a full 68% of beach vacationers admit to having been afraid to swim because of sharks. Additionally: Residents of Brazil (70%) and Singapore (67%) were the most attuned to sharks when planning their beach vacation. Only 3% of Italians always think of sharks before entering the water. New Tools for Planning the Perfect Summer Trip "The sheer scope of our Summer Sale is a great feature, but can also be a little problematic for some people. The question becomes, 'With more than 12,000 hotels on sale, where do our travelers even begin?'" said Joe Megibow. "We developed two useful ways to help them out. First, we automatically feature the most popular hotels based on where each traveler lives using crowd-sourced data and then, we've created a fun app to match the wealth of travel blogger insight to the individual needs of our travelers." When travelers visit the Summer Sale site, Expedia will present them with the very best hotel deals within their geographic vicinity, ideal for last-minute local getaways, or as deals to share with incoming friends and relatives. The Expedia Beachgoer App and Blogger Recommendation Tool This summer, Expedia has partnered with some of the world's most influential travel bloggers, as a way to help travelers book the perfect summer trip. To participate, consumers can use the Expedia Beachgoer Facebook app which prompts consumers to take a fun quiz to determine their Beach Travel profile. The profiles, like Zen Beach Mama and Rockin' Surfer Dude correspond to fifteen influential travel bloggers who have provided recommended destinations to match each profile. For example, a traveler whose profile is "Foodie" would be presented with blogger recommendations to visit cities such as Tokyo, or Bangkok, or New York City. "Adventure" travelers would see blogger recommendations to visit Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, to hunt with eagles, or Reykjavic, Iceland, to experience dog sledding. Survey Methodology This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive on behalf of Expedia.com from February 14 - March 21, 2012 among 8,599 adults, 18 and older, in the following countries: the United States (501), Canada (1,249), Mexico (400), Argentina (312), Brazil (308), United Kingdom (402), Germany (423), France (414), Italy (437), Spain (418), Norway (300), Sweden (300), Denmark (300), Ireland (300), Netherlands (300), Japan (429), India (438), South Korea (346), Singapore (321), Australia (400), and New Zealand (301). This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact: expediapr@hlgrp.com. May 16, 2012

Sofitel Hotels HanoiOs Sofitel Legend Metropole Reopens War-Era Bomb Shelter. The Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is reopening a bomb shelter in its back garden. Its whereabouts unknown for decades, the shelter opens as a memorial to the hotel's wartime employees. Regular tours will usher hotel guests through the space, which has largely been left as it was found during a chance rediscovery last summer. Forty years after the bombs stopped falling on Hanoi, and less than one year after a chance discovery of an air raid shelter in its back garden, the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi is cutting a red ribbon on the excavated bunker on May 21 as the anchor attraction in a new Path of History tour. The 40-square-meter bomb shelter has been preserved in its original state as a tribute to the hotelOs wartime employees, who ushered guests into the relative safety of the underground chamber from the mid-1960s through the Christmas Bombings in 1972. A Filipino journalist, Gemma Cruz Araneta, described the shelter this way in a May 1968 journal entry: OThe hotel shelter is a long, narrow, semi-subterranean room of concrete which I thought would have made a groovy discotheque. It is lined with green wooden chairs and though there was no electricity, I noticed an electric fan. Really, the Vietnamese are such thoughtful hosts.O The exhibit commemorates 110 years of Metropole history along 18 meters of hotel corridor. The 13 exhibition plates include restored images of the hotelOs early years, a timeline, introductions to more than 300 guests from Charlie Chaplin to Jane Fonda and Joan Baez to Angelina Jolie, and a section on travel. Augustin, who is president of the Most Famous Hotels in the World organization, is training a team of six local historians to accompany hotel guests on a tour that culminates with a descent into the wartime shelter. The bomb shelter will be open to hotel guests and staff, as well as local Hanoians. The 364-room hotel was completely renovated in June 2009. Its historic Metropole Wing features suites named for Chaplin, Somerset Maugham and Graham Greene, each of whom stayed at the Metropole during his time in colonial Indochina. The hotelOs restaurants include Spices Garden (Vietnamese), Le Beaulieu (French) and Angelina (Italian). Le Spa du Metropole opened in late 2009 and immediately set a new standard for nostalgic elegance in Vietnam. For more information, email H1555-MK@sofitel.com. May 14, 2012

SwitzerlandOs Gstaad Palace SwitzerlandOs Gstaad Palace Offers Three Summer Packages. SwitzerlandOs Gstaad Palace, one of the last family-owned palaces in the region, is offering three new packages. The Unforgettable Summer Days package features a two-night midweek stay in any single or double room category with a view over the Swiss Alps; wine degustation and canaps with the sommelier in the palace wine cellar; a hot stone massage of 50 minutes, per person, in the Palace Spa; cooking lesson with the chef, with the cooked meal and wine; and use of the Palace Spa with indoor swimming pool, saunas, steam baths, outdoor pool with Jacuzzi and Olympic-size outdoor pool. The package rate per person including half board is a double room from CHF730 ($775) and is valid June 17 to Sept. 13. The Wonderful Family Summer package features four nights in a Double Superior Nord room with a view of the Swiss Alps and includes 50 percent off regular rate for an additional Double Standard connected to a room for two children up to 16 years of age; Swiss breakfast buffet and dinner at Le Grand Restaurant for up to four people; four "easy access" cards, including the use of cable cars, local buses, train transportation and entry to several tourist activities and museums in and around Gstaad, over three days; and use of the Palace Spa with indoor swimming pool, saunas, steam baths, outdoor pool with Jacuzzi and Olympic-size outdoor pool. The package rate per person including half board is from CHF1,215 ($1,290) and is valid June 17 to Sept. 13. The One More Night package features four nights for the price of three in a midweek stay in any double room category with breakfast, as well as an aroma massage of 25 minutes per person and Swiss breakfast buffet and dinner at Le Grand Restaurant; and use of the Palace Spa with indoor swimming pool, saunas, steam baths, outdoor pool with Jacuzzi and Olympic-size outdoor pool. The package rate per person including half board is from CHF1,175 ($1,245) and is valid June 17 to Sept. 13. May 16, 2012 1544-3760

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Date:May 21, 2012
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